Gift of Voice rewards healthy mental health disclosure with scholarship

The 2022 Disclosure Scholarship application period is now officially open.

Powered by Gift of Voice, the purpose of the Disclosure Scholarship is to encourage and reward students who have publicly disclosed their personal mental health experiences in healthy ways which positively impact their local community.

“This comes from a desire for justice. I want people with mental health conditions to be treated like people without mental health conditions,” said AJ French, CEO of Gift of Voice. “I want to see positive consequences from disclosure – to reward rather than penalize.”

Gift of Voice is a mental health training and technical assistance center operated by people in recovery. The Edwardsville-based nonprofit created the Disclosure Scholarship in 2021 and awarded Morgan Rondinelli and Traci Jones each with a $500 scholarship. This year, the organization is offering an additional $500, bringing the total to three scholarship recipients.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be currently enrolled in school, have a minimum of 90 college credit hours and submit a completed application. In addition, students must submit an essay that is no more than 500 words that answers two specific questions:

• How have you disclosed your personal mental health experiences in healthy ways which have positively influenced your local community?

• How will you use your education and degree to continue positively influencing and advancing mental health dignity in society?

Lastly, students must submit one letter of recommendation which describes how the applicant’s disclosure has positively influenced the community. The letter must be one page, letterhead is preferred, and include the first and last name of the author, a phone number where they can be reached and their email address. Letters may be authored by a person of the applicant’s choosing. However, Gift of Voice recommends a peer agency or disability organization, community or faith leader, high school teacher or college professor.

To apply, email your application responses, essay about your disclosure and recommendation letter to [email protected] along with one applicant photo for media purposes. Type “Disclosure Scholarship” into the subject line of the email.

Applications are due by noon on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022. Late submissions will not be reviewed or considered.

The three winners will be announced on Friday, Sept. 16 at Gift of Voice’s Prevention, Wellness & Recovery Book Fair. The book fair runs 1-9 pm at Gift of Voice’s location at Eden Church, 903 N. Second St., Edwardsville. The book fair will help fund the Disclosure Scholarship.

Attendees will have the opportunity to chat with authors in recovery about how they overcame challenges. Featured authors are Ty Bechel, Dar Bryant, Samantha Cabrera, Dan Fisher, Heather Harris, Nanette Larson and Sandra Smith.

Those interested in the book fair can register at Eventbrite.

For questions about the scholarship, email [email protected] with your inquiry. Download the application and find more information on the Gift of Voice website at giftofvoice.com

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